HRS Weekly Bulletin: 24-28 February 2014

Urgent Information for parents
We have received information where Police and senior public health officials have warned people of the dangers they face by taking part in the latest social media craze neknominate.

The drinking game – which is trending on Facebook and Twitter – encourages participants to film themselves in bizarre situations downing an alcoholic drink before nominating friends to do the same.

Already in school we are being made aware of a number of students taking part in this craze. Not only are they taking part in bizarre situations, but with dangerous cocktails of alcohol (mixed and in large quantities), medications such as cough mixture, vinegar, and even household chemicals.

Inspector Ed Brown said: “Rapid consumption of alcohol can have serious consequences for people of all ages especially if your body is not used to what you’re drinking. Downing a pint of spirits, to use one example, is frankly a horrific idea. We know excessive drinking makes people more vulnerable including more likely to become a victim of crime or be injured, or involved in violence. We’ve noticed the situations people film in are becoming more extreme with people taking greater risks with their safety. This is not about the police being kill-joys. We don’t want to stop people from having fun but drinking to excess in bizarre situations for the camera puts you at risk. We would ask people to drink responsibly, to know their limits and stick to them and avoid putting themselves in unnecessary danger.”

Police are particularly conscious that young people could be more impressionable and likely to succumb to peer pressure around this trend and are asking for parents and carers to make sure their children are aware of the risks.

Director of Public Health, Lucy Macleod, said: “Neknominate is a highly dangerous craze, which has already led to serious illness, hospitalization, and even death, in some parts of the country. It increases your risk of heart attack, and can cause you to choke on your own vomit and suffocate, or slip into a life-threatening coma.”

As always we ask that you monitor your children’s Social Networking sites and make them aware of the great dangers faced by this dangerous craze.
Miss Louise Brammer – Designated Child Protection Co-ordinator

A Further Message from the Designated Child Protection Co-ordinator
We are having a number of instances, especially in the lower school, of students receiving links over “Kik”, to pornographic material.  The senders of these links are unknown.  There are also various requests being made of some of these students, and some of these are requests to send back images of themselves.  This is early grooming type behaviour which can lead to sexual exploitation.   It raises significant concern because there is no direct reporting facility on “Kik”, as there is on Facebook and some other social networking sites.  This makes the site more likely to be used for inappropriate activity as described.

Please note “Kik” is for use by 13-18 year-olds only with parental consent, though they make it easy for any young person to say they have consent.  It is NOT intended for under 13’s under any circumstances.  Young people can be deeply disturbed by receiving pornographic material and are at great risk if they do not understand the possible consequences of conversing with strangers on line (even if they purport to be children) or sending images of themselves to anyone on line.

We have contacted  “Kik” about these issues, but the only advice they can offer is detailed below:-

Students can use some of our privacy features (Block and Ignore) to make sure they no longer receive messages from unwanted users.


You can block an unwanted user by following these steps:

Blocking the unwanted user will (1) prevent them from sending any messages to you from the blocked account, (2) will remove all conversations with them from your phone, and (3) will remove them from your contact list.


If you’re using a recent version of Kik on your iPod, iPhone or Android phone, you can also turn on the ‘Ignore New People’ feature:

This will turn off notifications for messages from new people, and hide those messages in a different conversations list (your Ignored conversations).   Check out this FAQ from our Help Centre for more information about this feature:

(Please note: you might need to update Kik Messenger to the newest version to use the ‘Block’ and ‘Ignore’ features.)

We’ve posted more information about our privacy features here:

Please monitor your children’s internet use carefully – particularly on their mobile phones.  Make sure you know what they are looking at and that the sites/apps they are using are age appropriate.  Please use parental controls on all devices which have access to the internet – including mobile phones.
Miss L Brammer – Designated Child Protection Co-ordinator

Year 10 Work Experience Launch
Monday 24th February 2014, 7.00 – 8.00 p.m. in the School Hall
Year 10 parents are invited to an evening launch for Work Experience.  Work Experience for all Year 10 students will take place in the two weeks beginning Monday 23rd June 2014.  Please put this date in your diary, and avoid arranging holiday over this key period.  We regard the experience to be a valuable part of the work-related learning element of the KS4 National Curriculum.

Mrs Pamela Abbott will be giving a presentation in the School Hall on the above date to explain the exact procedures your son or daughter will go through during the process. The students were given a briefing session in Assembly on Thursday 13th February, so there is no need for the students to attend the evening presentation.

It is expected that the evening information session will last about 50 minutes and this will leave time for questions at the end.

We have engaged the services of BEP Group (Business Education Partnership Group) to provide us with full risk-assessments and job descriptions for each placement to fulfil our duty of care to the students.

We are asking that students make a direct approach to an employer of their choice, using a green ‘Own Placement’ Form.   Information and ‘Own Placement’ forms will be sent home by Friday 14th February via the Year 10 students.   All paperwork will be available electronically on the main school website and on Cloudbase (Careers).
Mrs P Abbott – Careers Coordinator

Successmaker withdrawal sessions – Year 7
It’s PINK week, so the hour withdrawal sessions for Successmaker students are from MATHS.
Miss P Jackson and the Extended Learning Team

Geography Catch-up for all Year 11 Students
Year 11 Geography students are invited to attend catch-up sessions held on Thursday lunchtimes in C101.  Students can bring their own lunch.
Mrs L Withers – Head of Geography

The Reality Road Show Comes to Helena Romanes for Year 9 on Thursday 27th February and Monday 3rd March
The hugely successful Reality Road Show is returning to Helena Romanes School again. It seeks to inform Year 9 students on a range of subjects so that they are able to make properly informed choices, both now and in the future.  The Road Show is run by a group of professionals who work day to day in their specific areas. This includes; NHS nurses, Firefighters and Police men and women meaning that information is current and based on genuine experience. The topics that will be explored are:

–           Internet safety
–           Road safety
–           Sexual health and relationships
–           Smoking
–           Drugs and alcohol
–           Police, the law and antisocial behaviour
–           Fire safety
–           Domestic violence

To achieve this, half of Year 9 will be taken off their normal timetable each day; Population B on Thursday and Population A on Monday.  Students will spend 40 minutes on each topic, moving between different classrooms, to cover all eight during the day. These days have proved to be hugely successful in achieving a holistic education for our students and enabling them to make positive choices.
Mr N Wilcox

Essex Book Festival
Gervase Phinn ‘The School Inspector Calls!’
Thursday 6 March 2014 at 7.30pm
The school is very pleased to host former teacher, school advisor and inspector, Gervase Phinn, as part of the Essex Book Festival.  The author will discuss his third brilliantly funny and warm hearted novel from the best-selling Barton-in-the-Dale series, ‘The School Inspector Calls!’  His talk will be followed by book signing. Caxton Books will be selling copies of his current and previous novels.  Refreshments will be on sale.

Gervase Phinn was a teacher, then General Adviser for Language Development in Rotherham before moving to North Yorkshire, where he spent ten years as a school inspector – which provided much source material for his books.   He lives near Doncaster.  Gervase Phinn has been touring and selling out theatres across the country for over nine years as a hilarious raconteur. The best-selling and award winning author, Radio and TV personality, really is at his best and most exciting in front of a live audience.

‘A worthy successor to James Herriot, and every bit as endearing’ by Alan Titchmarsh.

‘Packed with delightful and authentic characters, juicy gossip, precarious romance and good old-fashioned village drama, this is a warm-hearted and hilarious account of a struggling school in a small community’ Good Book Guide

Tickets priced £8/£7 concessions are now available from the Essex Book Festival Box Office: telephone: 01206 573948,

HRS Annual Choreographic Competition 2014
The choreographic competition is an excellent opportunity for all students who have an interest in the creative arts to express and showcase their skills.  Due to the increase in popularity in Dance at HRS, we’ve had to add an extra evening to the event this year.

Dates for the events:
Monday 24th March – Years 8 & 9
Tuesday 25th March – Years 7 & 11 (Year 11 groups)
Wednesday 26th March – Years 10 and 11 (Year 11 solo)
Thursday 27th March – Whole School Dance Show

All events start at 6.45pm until approximately 9.00pm.  Tickets can be obtained through ParentPay and are priced at £5.00 for Adults and £3.00 for Concessions.

Rehearsals for the events will be held on Monday 17th February and will run as follows:

Main Hall

9.00am-11.00am        GCSE Years 10 & 11

10.00am – 11.00am    A-Level Dance

11.00am-12.00noon    Elite Gym Group

12.00noon – 1.00pm   JH/MR Thursday Group

12.00noon – 2.00pm   Years 8 & 9 Dance Club and GCSE


The Gym (with Sam and Louise)

9.00am – 11.00am      Year 7 Dance Club

11.00am- 1.00pm       Gifted & Talented Wednesday Group

In addition to these rehearsals we are also holding a day of rehearsals in the Main Hall on Sunday 23rd March.  This gives the students the opportunity to refine any last minute pieces as well as giving the dancers the opportunity to rehearse on stage with their music and lighting.  The rehearsal will ONLY be for choreographic dances that are being judged.

9.00am – 11.00am      Years 8 & 9

11.00am – 1.00pm      Years 7 & 10

1.00pm – 3.00pm        Year 11

Please can all dancers be prompt and ensure they stick to their time slots.
Thank you.
Mrs L Judd – Head of Dance